Rich Franklin has officially announced his retirement from the sport of mixed martial arts.
“Ace” had already been fighting for nearly four years before he first stepped foot inside the octagon. After gathering an impressive undefeated record with twelve wins, the world of Zuffa was introduced to Rich Franklin when he finished the late Evan Tanner in less than three minutes. He would go on to win two more fights in the octagon against Edwin Dewees, Ken Shamrock, and Jorge Rivera before finally challenging for UFC gold.
Franklin won the UFC Middleweight Championship from Tanner at UFC 53 in 2005 and assumed the role as a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter”. Franklin successfully defended his championship twice before losing it to Anderson Silva, who would go on to dominate the division for the foreseeable future.
After making the move to light heavyweight, traded wins and losses with the likes of Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort, Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva before ultimately losing his last bout to Cung Le.
In April of 2014, Franklin signed a deal with ONE Fighting Championship to become their Vice President where he travels throughout the world promoting fights and holding speaking arrangements. Franklin never officially announced his retirement until today:
It’s official!!! Today is the day. I’m retired. http://t.co/hc6sx2m7WN
— Rich Franklin (@RichFranklin) September 28, 2015
Check out some of the excerpts from his retirement article:
I studied education in college, and while I wanted to teach, it was still just a job. Training in mixed martial arts was my hobby. My father wanted to strangle me the day I told him I quit my career as a teacher to pursue fighting. This was at a time before MMA was mainstream and was described as “human cockfighting”.
Then, in what seemed like overnight, I was fighting in UFC 42 at American Airlines Arena in Miami. Suddenly I had a camera in my face and had to worry about being on cue. Wasn’t I just here to fight? The venue that evening was only half full, yet it was still thousands of people.
I was fortunate enough to begin my career in the UFC when MMA was on the precipice of popularity in the U.S. We spent endless hours traveling to do PR and conduct interviews preaching the gospel of MMA. One by one, we watched state athletic commissions legalize MMA, and we began the process in other countries. It came in handy having a former high school math teacher as one of your champions. I had the privilege of fighting in eight different countries.
Many years ago, I was just a guy chasing his dream. Today, I stand here humbled and appreciative of where that pursuit took me. God bless!
Franklin is surely a future UFC Hall of Famer. Which Rich Franklin fight was your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!